Shekhar and Suvrajit overcome odds to win Rally de Bengal

Shekhar Choudhury and Suvrajit Dutta won the East Zone leg of the MRF FMSCI Indian National TSD Rally Championship (INTSDRC).

Shekhar Choudhury and Suvrajit Dutta overcame a challenging course to win the rally.   -  Special Arrangement

Shekhar Choudhury and Suvrajit Dutta showed the best understanding of a challenging course and tough conditions to win the East Zone leg of the MRF FMSCI Indian National TSD Rally Championship (INTSDRC).

The East Zone leg of the INTSDRC, christened as MRF Rally de Bengal, which covers about 115 kilometres, includes both dirt and tarmac roads. The route, which includes public and private roads through the forest areas around Durgapur (some 150 kms from here), was challenging for the navigators and the drivers. This was evident in the fact that more than half of the 16 cars and SUVs participating in the rally were disqualified while unable to grasp the tulip charts - the route chart that remains undisclosed till the start of the rally – and made the wrong turns to miss the time controls.

The round II of the East Zone leg (the first leg was held in Haldia) and was thus the most challenging part of the two-leg event. The Clerk of the course, Arindam Ghosh, designed the route meticulously to test both the judgement and the driving kills of the participants.

The rally followed the exciting trend of ‘Secret Time Controls’ and ‘Self Time Controls’, a format introduced by the organiser Ramakrishna Race Performance Management, which has now been accepted as the norm for all the National TSD competitions in the last few years.

Secret Time Controls help in monitoring the cars during the rally. Times are noted of each car as it traverses through the given route while the competitors take a note of their own times through the Self Time Controls. This does not allow any car to maintain a relatively high speed for a long duration and makes the rally safer.

Shekhar Choudhury and Suvrajit Dutta (the driver and navigator pair) incurred the least penalty riding a Maruti SX4 and clocked a good 06:17.5 seconds on a route that surprised many drivers. They outsmarted the seasoned pair of Soumyadeb Shaw and Souvick De Sarkar, who drove a Maruti Baleno to take the second position.

Laxman De and Punyabrata Barma won the third spot on a Mahindra Thar. The rally now moves to the South Zone, where the two legs of the competition will be held in Hubli and Bengaluru on September 25 and October 2.

The result:

1. Shekhar Choudhury and Suvrajit Dutta (Maruti SX4) – 06:17.5s; 2. Soumyadeb Shaw and Souvick De Sarkar (Maruti Baleno) – 06:29.0; 3. Laxman De and Punyabrata Barma (Mahindra Thar) 18:40.0.